The Starburst HDR prototype looks even crazier: it’s a collection of wires, fans and other electronics that Zuckerberg holds in his hand like a commercial drone.
In a rare move, Facebook parent company Meta, in order to make it clear to the outside world that they will not give up on high-end VR experiences, has released several prototypes of VR headsets at once.Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the goal is to eventually build a product that can pass the “Visual Turing Test,” or the point where virtual reality is almost indistinguishable from the real world.
For VR enthusiasts, it’s a dream thing. But for Meta’s critics, it’s another troubling sign that the company wants to take control of the real world, even as Zuckerberg says he doesn’t want to own the metaverse outright.
According to Zuckerberg and Michael Abrash, chief scientist at Meta Reality Labs, creating the perfect VR headset requires perfecting four basic concepts.
- First, they need to be high resolution so you can have 20/20 VR vision (no prescription glasses required);
- Second, the headset requires variable focus depth and eye tracking so you can easily focus on nearby and distant objects;
- The third is to repair the optical distortion inherent in the current lens;
- Finally, Meta needs to bring high dynamic range (HDR) into the headset to provide more realistic brightness, shadows and color depth.
Ultimately, Meta needed to incorporate all of these concepts into a lightweight, easy-to-wear headset.In 2020, Meta Reality Labs showed off concept VR glasses that use holographic lenses that look like oversized sunglasses. Based on this original concept, the company released the “Holocake 2”, the thinnest VR headset to date. It looks more traditional than the previous generation, but Zuckerberg says it’s a fully functional prototype that can play any VR game when hooked up to a computer.
“Displays that match the full capabilities of human vision will unlock something that really matters. The first is presence, the feeling of being with someone or being somewhere, as if you were really there. Given our focus on helping people connect with each other, you can see why this is such an important thing,” Zuckerberg said.
Meta is about to launch a headset codenamed “Cambria,” but it appears to be only a small step toward a true VR presence, and it looks like an Oculus Quest 2 Small upgrade. While Zuckerberg admits that it’s far from a perfect headset, he also showed off some prototypes that demonstrate the progress Meta’s reality lab has made so far.
In addition, Mate has developed a prototype code-named “Butterscotch”, which can display near-retina resolution, allowing you to see the last line in a VR vision test.
The “Starburst” HDR prototype looks even crazier: it’s a collection of wires, fans and other electronics that Zuckerberg holds in his hand like a commercial drone or commercial camera that can produce Brightness up to 20,000 nits. That’s a huge leap from the Quest 2’s 100 nits, and even ahead of current ultra-bright Mini-LED displays.
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